Why Are We More Interested In Hard Skills Than Soft Skills?

by | Nov 2, 2020 | Public Speaking | 3 comments

Most of the times we mistreat our soft skills, what do you mean by that Praveen?

I run an IT company? Imagine for a moment if I’m asking one of my colleagues to improve coding skills. He’s a coder? He will say, yes, Praveen I’m interested.

But if I’m asking the same person to improve his communication skills, he will hesitate or procrastinate, or even will be very keen to do that most of the time.

And we also know this, we have heard this, witness this, seeing this, that if you really want to grow exponentially in your life, you need a blend of both soft and hard skills.

But why do we mistreat soft skills?

Let’s understand this with sort of two simple soft skills examples.

Many times, we stop in a soft skill, somewhere here, there are four steps in every soft skill, and many of us we stop here only and that’s the reason our interest towards learning that skill sometimes disappear or goes down.

Let’s understand, with meditation.

Are you saying Praveen, is meditation a soft skill or hard skill? It’s is really simple to understand.

Coding is required only for coders. Imagine if I start learning coding, then it’s I think, absolutely not required. I’m a pharmacist by education but meditation is required for everyone. It’s like you are at the infancy stage of the career, middle of the career, top of the career, doesn’t matter which country you represent, doesn’t matter which gender you represent, what are you represent, doesn’t matter. Doesn’t matter who you are, or how much money you have in your account doesn’t matter but meditation is something which is essential for everyone.

My Vipassana Experience

I also did Vipassana meditation, and let me use the learning from that Vipassana meditation to put this thing in a context. So, I did my 10 days of Vipassana of course. Now, in those 10 days, one fundamental thing which I have learned is this, that I have to practice meditation, even after 10 days in my life, still we don’t do it. So many Vipassana meditation students, they complete it 10 days, how many of you actually coming back to your life, and as we pledged on the last day, we committed on the last day, that once we are back to life, at least one hour in the morning and one hour in the evening, before we sleep we will do.

How many of us we are doing?

Knowing the fact that it’s important, still we don’t do it. Let’s understand that. It’s a soft skill. Let’s understand why we don’t do it. For that, we need to understand what exactly we have learned in the Vipassana.

What Is Vipassana Meditation?

 If you have to divide your Vipassana of 10 days, you have to divide into two parts, three plus seven. Initial three days, we learn only one thing, only one thing, that is how to focus on your breath, it’s called Arapan, and three days continuously for 4am in the morning till 9:30pm every day. Hardly few breaks and we sit and we meditate and we practice only this. What do we mean by we meditate?

We practice, we learn how to focus on your breath, incoming, outgoing breath, incoming breath outgoing breath. And then you also focus the sensation that breath is creating on the upper limb. That’s it for three days, continuous for three days.

It’s a guided meditation in essence. There’s audio, so audio guided meditation. So, on third day, we realize that last three days, we have learned only one thing that is how to focus on one part of your body. So, you’re training your mind. It’s nothing about breathing, it’s not a breathing exercise, you are just training your mind how to focus. And you have used your breath and the sensation of this part of your body to focus-that’s it.

And then, after third day, according to the Vipassana, you have learned and practice how to focus now, try to focus on entire body parts. So, from top to bottom, you will start focusing and because you have practiced that for three days, you can do that.

I remember when my mother did Vipassana, when she came back, she did before me and she came back, and she said Praveen I can focus on the sensation of body and this and that I thought is magical.

But when I personally went there and started doing that, I said yes, its sensations are there every time. it’s like right now so there are certain sensations on my body, on your body. The only thing is that we are not focused. I am focused on you; you are focused on this video. So, not focused on that sensation for example Goosebumps are sensations. Now, the entire seven days you will say Praveen, why’d we focus on sensations?

Why we do that?

Only for one reason. So, three days we’ll learn how to focus and seven days will only one thing.

According to Vipassana meditation, which Gautama Buddha used to teach 2500 years ago with that, which has nothing to do with any religion, it’s a standalone meditation technique. So, according to this meditation technique, the only way to stay stable, peaceful life, live a peaceful life is to stay equanimous. What do I mean staying equanimous right?

Staying Equanimous

 Most of us, including me, when something happening good in front of you, you react, something happening bad in front of us, we react. So, when good is happening, we have this kind of approach. Okay, this is good. Now, it should happen again or let’s have something happen good, you’re so happy about it but that’s a tie. You’re tying yourself with that happiness and then you expect that in the future also it should happen, in the future or should happen. Right? Let’s imagine for a moment you make one video and you’ve got lots of views, lots of likes, then you’re making one more video so I said yet for this also I will need same likes. I’m expecting same views.

So, this is you’re tying yourself with happiness. There’s something called drustabhav. So, if you have a drustabhav this is what’s happening, then you will just watch it as it the way it is, you will not react. It’s called Bhoktabhav which is watching it the way it is, not hooked up hub, not consuming that. You’re not reacting to it. Same thing with bad, when something happens bad in your life, imagine that unfortunately, if someone is suffering from one disease, and after spending huge amount of time, energy, money, resources, that person has overcome the disease.

So even that person has overcome that, there will be a fear what if that disease comes again or there is a relapse? So still there is a tie. You’re tying yourself with that pain. So, you create eversion here, you create craving here. You want more, more, you don’t want, don’t want. So, you’re tying yourself. So according to your Vipassana, the only way to stay peaceful don’t tie the knot yet. Have durstavab just the way it is it is.

But according to Gautama Buddha, do not just rely on what has been told to us or what has been taught to us unless and until you don’t experience that on your body. That’s not knowledge. It’s called Pragya. So, for seven days, you actually experience that on your body because when you’re sitting from 4am in the morning till 9:30pm, it’s like if you’re sitting continuously with very few breaks, there will be a good reaction and bad reaction. So, there will be a back ache and there will be even in your thighs and your legs and there’s some good reactions also maybe in your stomach or in your hands or your neon in your mind brain, you will feel good reaction, bad reaction.

So, for seven days, you just learn how to stay equanimous. Close your eyes, focus on the reactions; good, do not react, bad, do not react, good do not react, bad, do not react. State one was maintaining equanimity. We do this for seven days. So, what we’ll do, I have learned and practice, learned and practice, okay.

I’ve learned for seven days and I’ve also practiced and then on the 10th day, we decided that yes, we will do that practice, that will continue to practice. We’ll not stop, we’ll continue the practice even after 10 days.

Now, why many of us we do not continue practice is because we do not understand this which you and I took some time to understand. The only reason why we practice that meditation technique that is developing that kind of approach and perspective that okay, I will not react and you practice that. So, you can implement in your life. What do I mean by that?

Are We Improving In Life?

There is something really happening in front of you which is not matching your expectation. You do not react because you’re practicing that correct.  You’re practicing that. You’ve been practicing that for almost 10 days, you’re practicing that, or something happening, which is really matching your expectation still, you’re not reacting, because you’re practicing that.

So, many times we just learn and practice but do not implement in our life. The moment, we start implementing that skill in our life, we start getting benefits. So earlier, imagine if your boss was saying something to you, very bad, very bad. Now you learn meditation techniques. Now just accept it, okay? The way it is, it is, of course, improve. I’m not talking about becoming a shameless person that we are not even improving or not taking suggestions, don’t go on that page.

But the point I’m making is that because someone is saying something which is really hurting you, you’re still not reacting to it because you have practiced. You have learned and practiced. And someone is really praising you and then you’re on the seventh cloud, and then oh, my God, and you are not doing that also, why?  Because you have learned and practice. So, when you start implementing that you start getting benefits in your life. And when you start getting benefits in your life, then and then only, you will continue to learn and practice that soft skills.

Learn .. Practice .. Implement..

So, when I asked my personal colleague to improve coding, that process is the instant benefit, okay, if I improve my coding, there will be increase in salary, I get more money and this and.  You see instant benefits in hard skills.

But you don’t see instant benefits in soft skills. You have to learn, you have to practice, you have to implement in your life. And then once you implement, then you get benefits where the maximum people they stop here only even in Vipassana.

The beauty of Vipassana is that you meet 10 people, everyone will tell or share unique learning.

Everyone has their own way of understanding Vipassana. So, your Vipassana is not all about sitting for hours and closing your eyes. Your Vipassana is about learning how not to react, good or bad, and implementing that in your life that is Vipassana.

And then you get benefits. Let’s take one more example.

You know, I’m a student of communication, I love to share my ideas, values, thoughts with the world.

So, every time when you speak in front of people, public speaking, many people they learn. They learn. Sometimes they attend live workshop, sometimes they learn from someone else, but they’ ll learn.

Some people they practice just like in other soft skills.

Even in meditation, there are many people they have not learned still the practice. Oh yeah, what is meditation? I can focus on my breath.

Meditation has nothing to do with your breath.

Some people they don’t learn, still they practice public speaking, I can speak one to one.

So, the first fundamental mistake you do that many people they do that they even without learning the practice, which is incorrect.

So, you learn, you practice.

But like meditation skill, what they feel that public speaking is only when I will stand in front of large audience on that elevated big platform and then I will speak then I will apply. Or public speaking is when I am getting an opportunity to stand on the red carpet of TEDx and then I will speak. It’s not like that.

Public Speaking Is All About Learning Techniques And Methods Of Organizing Your Content

The moment you start implementing public speaking skills in your life, even if you are sitting in front of small friends grow, and if you are implementing public speaking, what is public speaking. It has nothing to do with your body language, you can’t see even my half body. It has nothing to do with body language and vocal variety. Public speaking is a very small part.

Public speaking is all about learning techniques and methods of organizing your content and delivering your content effectively in front of people within the given time.

So when you learn that, so even if you’re standing in front of your family members, imagine there is a big conflict in your family, not resolved since many years, and you invite every family members and they all are sitting in front of you and you’re standing and you’re speaking in such a way that you resolve the conflict that is public speaking only.

Or imagine you have only five minutes to speak in front of your boss to prove your perspective or your point of view that is public speaking only. So, unless and until whatever you are learning in public speaking, the techniques and methods you’re learning in public speaking, you do not implement you will not get the benefit. And when you don’t get benefits, you lose interest.

We are human beings; we always look for benefits.

So, one of the key reasons, to be very precise answer to that question that why people are very keen in learning hard skills because they see instant benefits there but it’s soft skills, they don’t see instant benefits.

You have to learn, you have to practice, you have to implement in your life, and then you get benefits.

But as I told you earlier also if you really want to grow exponentially in your life, you need both hard skills and soft skills.

That’s my perspective ladies and gentlemen.

What’s your view?

This is Praveen signing out until we meet again.


  1. Shail

    Great piece of work, honestly tells a lot about Vipassana and public speaking skills. thank you Praveen for the knowledge.

    • Praveen Wadalkar

      Thank you for reading and sharing your feedback 🙂

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